Saturday, June 28, 2008

When life give you lemons

Admittedly a tired old cliche, but it works for me right now. I've had to find ways to 'make lemonade' while I'm benched.

Here's the deal. I really want to put ths injury behind me for good. So while cycling isn't on the banned list, I've decided to stay off my bike at least until next week. Here's what I've been up to:

More Swimming -I've been to the pool 4 times this week. Something cool happened, too. I met some guy who recognized that I was working on Total Immersion techniques. The next day, he brought me the video and a few articles on kicking from the hips.

Techno Geek Stuff - I spend all day yesterday trying to get info transfered from my old laptop to the fast shiny new one and debugging issues that I was having with wireless, email, etc. I'm pretty much up and running on the new one now. Then I loaded about 2.5 GB of music onto my laptop and into my new Sansa player (4 GB for $45 - thank you, Woot). I also have some research in the works regarding cell phones and carriers; that's the next upgrade on my list.

Event and Training Planning - Assuming my pain is gone for good in a few weeks, there are a few more events in September that I'd like to sign up for (Half Mary & Sprint Tri). I also have an Oly at the end of that month. I've had to rework my training plan, but I think it's still doable.

Have a great weekend everyone; don't forget to make lemonade with whatever lemons life throws your way!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Anatomy Lesson

Popliteal Region - The space behind the knee joint. The space is bounded by ligaments and contains soft tissue including nerves, fat, membranes and blood vessels.

Most common causes of pain in the popliteal region are Bakers's cyst or popliteal tendinitis. Doc didn't think I had either.

His theory is that I overextended my leg during the original injury incident causing a sprain/strain at the hamstring-popliteus interface. It obviously hasn't completely healed.

He said he could tell from my "runner's legs" (I'll take that as a compliment!) that I probably wouldn't like what he had to say, but if I wanted the fastest path to get back to full training, I really needed to let this heal. Anything that fully extends the leg is preventing healing and possibly making it worse.

So the plan is to try rest, heat, and Traumeel Ointment 2x per day. No running/jogging for 2 weeks (eek!). Try to minimize walking as well, especially stairs/hills. Cycling is okay as long as I don't stand on the hills, because my leg is protected from full extension. Swimming is okay, but easy on kicking. If it doesn't seem to be getting better or gets worse, go back in or see a sports medicine guy.

Seems reasonable, so I'm giving it a go.

Not too long ago, I signed up for a 5K that is now 2.5 weeks out. At this point, I'm looking at it as a training run rather than a race. If I can run without pain, I'll consider it a success.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Return of Pain

Sounds like a good movie title, huh? It's really not a very interesting story, but it's turning into a bit of a mystery.

Waaaayyy back in early May I did something to my right leg. Not while cycling. Not while doing strength work. Not while running. While taking my dog for a walk. Bandit & I have something in common. We both chase bunnies. He does it a little more emphatically than I do though. On this particular walk, he jutted out to the left after a bunny faster and in the process, I stepped or stumbled funny. That was the beginning of Pain. I first mentioned in a post after Run for the Zoo, but it actually happened the day before.

At that time, I noticed that Pain got worse when I ran hard, but it wasn't unbearable and it went away when I walked. I tried to take it easy, but Pain returned and really messed up my attempt at the Virtual 10K on the 10th.

After that, I took a few weeks off from running. Pain seemed to go away completely.

Now it's back with a vengence.

Pain won't go away. Not when I walk. Not even now while I'm sitting and typing.

I tried to get an appt with my doctor to figure out what this Pain is, but can't get in for two weeks! I think I'll go to urgent care tomorrow and see if they can figure out what it is and what I should do about it. Pain is primarly in the area behind my knee (my knee pit, if you will), but radiates up my leg at times.

All I know for sure right now, is that this can't be good.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Swim like a fish...

I did 1500yds at the pool this morning as planned. That is good.

One of the things that I did was count strokes. Not so good.

First I counted strokes using breast stroke. It took me 25 strokes. I'm sure that's not great, but I don't really know how to do breast stroke and I only do it occasionally to mix things up.

Then I counted freestyle (front crawl). I expected a much lower number since it's a much more efficient stroke. Not so much. It took me 22-23 strokes. Yikes! I counted several times to make sure I was counting correctly.

This simply won't do. I decided to stop at Borders and pick up the Total Immersion book. Surely it can't hurt. First impression - there is a lot to read!

My next scheduled swim is Sunday morning bright and early, so I'm going to have to read, study up, and make myself some drill sheets (enclosed in a plastic baggy) between now and then so that I can practice the basics and begin to learn how to swim like a fish.

If anyone has any other ideas (dvds, swim drill resources) please let me know asap.

Happy Friday. Happy Weekend. Best wishes to everyone racing, especially the Ironman CdA folks.

EDITED SUNDAY AFTERNOON: I found a site with some short clips showing the various drills used in Total Immersion and studied those along with the book. I spend most of my time at the pool practicing the overswitch. At the end, I couldn't resist trying to swim using most of the concepts. I went slow, focussed on form, and counted. It only took me 17-18 strokes to get me from one end to the other. WOW. Hopefully I'll have the hang of it in a few weeks. If it doesn't make me faster, it should at least make me more efficient, requiring less energy in the long run.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yes, I did!

I successfully cycle commuted Monday through Thursday, adding up to 52 miles. I also managed a couple short runs after my commute in. Yes, I'm planning to do it again as long as no thunderstorms are projected or any unforseen circumstances that would suggest that driving is a better choice.

I must share a few comments that made me smile:

* from fast cyclist passing me for the umteenth day in a row on the hill: "You just never give up, do you?" - Nope, I don't. And I'll take that as a compliment, thank you.
* from colleague at fitness center: "You're going to run after riding in?!? What are you nuts?!?" - Ha! You should meet some of my blogger friends. :)

And some things I learned:

* Much planning is required especially if there are any deviations in your normal routine.
* Pay close attention to what you pack. Keep back-ups at the office where possible.
* Bring plenty of snacks. You still need fuel, but it's food instead of gasoline.
* Errands after work are doable, but by then you smell *really* bad. Keep them short or do them some other day.
* Nasty hills don't get any shorter just because you travel up them every day, but they do become ominous each time they are conquered.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I think I can

I have committed to cycling in twice a week. Thinking about it some more, as long as the weather is reasonable and I don't have any external commitments, there's no reason why I can't take it up a notch. I challenged myself on Sunday evening to cycle to work four (4) days this week unless something absolutely required otherwise.

I think I can.

Could I really accomplish this? This week the forcast tells me to expect it to be hot (98deg high) with low wind and very low chance of thundershowers. Seems reasonable enough to me.

I think I can.

Cycling in all four days means that I need to leave extra early a few days to include running. It would also remove the option to swim on Tuesday and require my Friday and Sunday swims to be a bit longer than originally planned.

I think I can.

Monday - left the house just after 6am so that I could go the the fitness center first. I usually go an extra 2 miles out of my way to take a safer route. On Monday, I wanted to try the shorter route since I was leaving so early. Well, I did make it to my destination alive and well, but I am acutely aware now why I decided to go the extra 2 miles out of my way. Yikes. Anyway, I wanted to do intervals on the treadmill, but the little fitness center at work has only two treadmills and neither was working on Monday. So I ran around the campus instead. I hadn't brought a watch or a Garmin, but I think I went about 2 miles. Not great, but better than nothing. Oh, and I had to bungee my running shoes on my bike because I couldn't fit them in my bag. That looked pretty funny, but it worked and I didn't lose a shoe on the way in. Day 1 was a success.

I think I can.

Tuesday - left the house closer to 6:30am, intending only to shower and change (no other workout) before my all day class. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I did not pack a matched set of shoes! D'oh! I'm really not sure how that happened, but clearly I need to pay more attention to what I'm packing. Luckily, I had enough time to run over to grab the exra set of shoes I keep in my office before my class started. I barely made it to the class on time, but I did make it. Day 2 was a success, with a litle hiccup.

I think I can.

Wednesday - Plan is to leave at 6am again and be able to run even longer, this time with Garmin. And don't forget to pack a matched set of shoes!

I think I can.

Thursday - I think I have an errand to run after work. We'll see how that goes.

I think I can.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mid Point Check

"Thirty days has September
April, June, and November"

Since today is the halfway point, I wanted to check my numbers to see if I'm making any progress against May. If I can just keep it up, I'm currently on track to maintain the bike mileage while increasing the swim and run slightly.

Swim - 3600 yds by June 15th (vs. 4900 by end of May)
Bike - 109 miles by June 15th (vs. 199 by end of May)
Run - 19 miles by June 15th (vs. 23.25 by end of May)

In other my hair cut and colored on Friday. First thing Daughter said was "It's short!"

Well, despite what my family may think, I can tell you that it was heavenly when I ran yesterday. I also appreciated it this morning after my swim. And I'm sure they'll get used to it soon enough.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fitting it all in

My focus right now is on evening out my training and the first thing that I need to fix is swimming. I'm going to have to do something different because I just can't get my body out of bed early enough to get it done before work.

Yesterday, I went to the pool at 7pm, arriving just as a water aerobics class ended. That worked out pretty well. I'll try that again next week. A few weeks ago I showed up at the gym Sunday morning right when it opened and made it home in time to get to church. I may try that this week as well.

I was hoping to go to Cochiti with GeekGirl, Cindy, and others tomorrow, but my work schedule isn't going to allow that to happen this week. I'm going to have to try to get to the pool early instead. Sigh. This is a bummer, because I need OWS practice for Elephant Man.

Once I get the swimming figured out, I'll put some effort back on running if needed, but I think that will happen naturally. My running was down last month mostly due to injury/illness, not because I was having trouble fitting it in.

Speaking of running, I was tagged by Jen in Budapest. I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you want to be tagged, consider it done.

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
Running? What running? I have only been running for a few years.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?
See my last post for the worst. My best was probably my first 5K. Even though I was one of the very last finishers, it felt so incredibly awesome to cross the finish line for the first time.

3. Why do you run?
The short version is "simply because I can."

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?
Know what your goal is for each training session and pace accordingly.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
People seem to be surprised to discover that I have a hummingbird tattoo on my upper left shoulder. Personally, I don't think it's a big deal, but whatever.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stick a Fork in Me...I'm Done

Part 1: Albuquerque "Metric Century"

Summary: I put the distance in quotation marks, because this ended up being closer to 112K than 100K. My Garmin measured 68.85 miles with 1238ft of climbing. Add on the distance from/to the car and we easily did 70+miles. Despite this, I was smiling as we packed up the car to return home.

The course proflie: I messed up something on my Garmin, so I ended up capturing the ride data in 2 chunks. The first 10miles looks a lot like the last 10miles, nothing too exciting, just imaging an extra 10 at the beginning that look like the last 1o. It's pretty obvious where the hard part was.

Thoughts from the experience:

* Love the Novarra Mezzo shorts (those are the ones I mentioned in an earlier post...only with the pro chamois rather than the recreational gel). I bought a second pair on the way home.
* Love the event jersey that we purchased for an additional fee. Worth every penny.
* Don't love climbing. Probably never will.
* Don't love riding downhill on streets with traffic and no bike lane. In fact, downhill is scary for me. I start reaching for brakes when I see 24+ mph.
* Definately need gloves for long rides. Didn't have any, but bought some on the way home for next time.
* The aqua rack rocks. So do the insulated polar bottles that I bought to load into the aqua rack rock.
* So do the boy scouts that held my bike at rest stop #2 while I used the porta-potty
* 70miles is a long way. I increased my longest ever cycle distance by 32miles. Experts don't recommend increasing you distance by this much in one ride. Several parts of my body agree.
* Yes, I would do another one, but I would inquire more carefully about the exact distance in advance. Every inch after mile 60 was a struggle for me. The fact that the course ran long was almost enough to put me in tears at the end.

Part 2: Mariposa "Death March"

Summary: The Mariposa run was this morning. We chose the 10K distance. This was supposed to be fun and scenic. Okay, I admit it was scenic, but fun was totally missing for me. No happy face at the end of the race. In fact, I was quite grumpy. This is a first for me.

The course profile:
First off, please note that the starting elevation is basically up where the top of that bike ride was on the day before. The first mile or so was downhill. Yikes. That means we have to go back up hill. And then it just seemed to go up and up and up. I did a lot of walking. And grumbling. It seemed like we should end up going downhill for the last mile, but instead, this is where the course took a left, offroad and onto the mesa. And it was mostly uphill in sand. What the font?!? I felt like I should switch to hiking shoes. Who designed this course and what made them think that this little stretch at the end would be fun?

Thoughts from the experience:

* The race was very well organized, but the course must have been designed by sadists. I won't be back next year.
* Final time was 1:14:something. For the record, I'm not unhappy because of my finish time; I'm unhappy because (in my opinion) the race course sucked.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ready for the weekend

Tomorrow morning is the metric century. I've got my jersey, bib number, shorts, socks, shoes, all laid out and ready to go. I've got my drinks mixed and in the fridge/freezer. I've got my snacks ready. The bike's in the car with a freshly cleaned and lubed chain and air in the tires. My sunscreen, cell phone, id, $$, helmet, sunglasses, map, camera (may or may not bring it), etc are all sitting out waiting for me. That sure seems like a lot of prep for a non-race, don't you think? I guess the first time for just about anything can be exciting.

Oh yeah, and then there's the 10K on Sunday. I'm fairly certain that is going to be a train-wreck, so I'm not nearly as excited about it. Husband reminds me that I wanted to run it because it sounded like an interesting and potentially scenic course, not because I expected to do well. I'm guessing I'll need to remind myself of that come Sunday morning.

Anyway...whatever you're doing this weekend, have fun doing it. Catch you on the flip side.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wind. It Blows.

Bike commuted to work today. On the way home, it was windy (as usual for this time of year) something in the 20-30mph range.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the wind on the way home.

First off, I don't so much mind a headwind, but the cross winds and gusts are rather difficult for me and downright scary at times.

Next, we really, honestly, and truly should find a way to take advantage of the wind energy in this part of the country. What a waste to just let it blow and not harvest it to it's full potential.

Third thought - I realized that I'm out riding in wind that would have kept me off my bike last year. I rock. Or roll. Or get blown off my bike. Whatever.

Final thought, have I mentioned that I don't care for the cross winds? I guess so. No harm in repeating myself to make a point, right?

So here's the deal. I cannot bike commute on Thursday. I don't work on Friday, so I have to ride in tomorrow if I'm going to hit my minimum 2x per week. Forcast for tomorrow is same as today only with gusts up to 40mph.

The ride home may not be pretty, but I think I'm going to go for it. <

Sunday, June 1, 2008

May Tally

- Numbers -

Running: 23.25 miles. that's it?? yikes.
Cycling: 199.7 miles. Oh man, I wish I had gone an extra .3 somewhere
Swimming: 4900 yds :(
Other: 1 each of Zumba/Strength
Races: Run for the Zoo with a PR, baby!

- Thoughts -

It was frustrating to lose so much training time this month for a tweaked right leg early in the month and then a week of Bronchitis. But since I started the month off with a 10K PR and really kicked it up a notch on the bike, I don't feel like it was a total loss.

- Plans -

First full weekend in June has both the 100K bike tour and a 10K road race. After that, I'm going to try to focus on balancing out my running/cycling/swimming.

- EDIT -

Two things I feel like commenting on now so I don't need to include in a separate post.

1) I forgot to pack a sports bra on my trip. D'oh! So I needed to shop for one. That may have been a good thing, found something that I might like better than my others. Woot!

2) Came home to a broken water pipe on the roof. Had to turn the water off to the cooler. That means it's 90ish degrees and we have no cooler until Husband comes home on Thursday. Sigh. I'm going to bat my eyelashes at work tomorrow and see if I can get someone to help us out. Meahwhile, it's HOT in here.